Savour it All – Finding Joy after Grief

Avignonessi Angel photo - Karen Anderson
Avignonessi Angel
photo – Karen Anderson

Angel things
By Karen Anderson

Because of Ryan (March 18 – 20, 1996)
Originally posted in 2011. Updated March, 2014 – because he would have been 18 on the 18th of this year. A golden birthday…not forgotten.

My son is an angel.

I knew it the second I laid eyes on him. His energy was bold and pure. It was something perceived, sensed, understood. He suffered while he was here and knowing he would he came anyway. He is just that kind of soul; brave and loving; thinking only of the gift he could give his father and me. It took awhile but I see his power now.

He left us after only a short time but he is always here in my heart. He serves as a powerful reminder each day to stop and think about the way he would have us live. He would want us to treat each other gently, to be our best and not waste time. He would want us to dream and to realize our dreams. He would be happy for us to be outside in nature and to feel humble everyday as we realize the splendour that surrounds us.

Since he left there are days I have ached for him. I expect there will be more too. My loneliness for him used to be vast and dismal like a thick gray fog. It could not be helped for I am only human and the space in a mother’s empty arms – where a child might have been – is a void reaching into the depths of the universe.

I believe my pain, a mother’s worst, was felt in that place so deep and dark and far away. That which pierced my heart, pierced an eternal heart and it in turn sent an infinite number of details to soothe the sorrow of my soul.

Every once in a while, a chickadee comes the birdfeeder outside my window. The friendly song of the buff-coated and black-capped caller reminds me of the sweetness of my innocent son. I am thankful to the little bird for bringing that feeling to me.

Snow falls and the earth wears a coat of white which sparkles in the moonlight and the sunlight and I am reminded that light is healing. I feel my son is the sender of this blanket of white. It is there to comfort me and wake my heart from the dark spell it had fallen under. I am surrounded by the warmth and light of his love.

A flock of geese fly into the sunset and their honking makes me look up to the sky and catch my breath with excitement. I realize that my son has crossed over the imaginary line that is this human existence and he is now apart of all that is beauty on this earth.

A vision came to me one day. I was walking a tight rope high above the city. I was not afraid but instead rather playful, dipping and dancing back and forth. And when all this playing led me to fall; I simply smiled and floated through the sky as my own angel wings sprouted and I drifted to safety with a look of deep contentment on my face. I looked up at the sun and saw its rays turn into tiny crystals of light and the tiny crystals turned into angels the size of dust. The bits of angel dust landed on my face and each and every one of them was a tender kiss.

I know love and I feel safe at all times.

I don’t feel nearly so sad when I think of these things my son has shown me. I don’t mind the pain anymore because I know beauty now. I am enjoying what I have.

Right now I am calm and centred. I believe I will be shown my way. I will be loved and taken care of. Perhaps I will even be able to help others find comfort.

Love is gentle and angels are about love. They love better than anyone because they are made of love’s energy. Love’s gives them the power to heal.

Think about how love makes you feel. Don’t you wish you felt that way all the time? Maybe you can. What would happen if you did? You would smile a lot. The small things probably wouldn’t bother you very much. People would just want to be around you. You’d have your priorities straight.

Would it be hard to feel love all the time? Where would you even start?

I think you would have to start by loving yourself. First you accept, then you trust, and if you commit to love, you can become aware of every dream and hope and thought you have inside. I’m sure that the deeper you look the more love you will find. We mirror the universe and that has been my experience with the universe.

How could this life be about anything else?

Go to light. Be love. Feel safe. Dream.

These things are natural to angels. It is their way of being.

I think we could all live an angel’s life. We’ve maybe just forgotten and need to practice but with practice it is possible to let the power of angels into your life.

Isn’t my son incredible? He taught me all these angel things.

2014 – Post Script
I wrote the story/prayer/thoughts above the year after my son died. That was 17 years ago.
I look for and see angels everywhere since he died (see photos below).
I’m grateful that my most frequent encounter with angels is the love I see in my friends.
Nature, also, still delivers the most divinity for me. Life’s miracles need only be looked for in nature’s attention to the tiniest details. Time in nature keeps me present and fully alive.
Knowledge of our oneness, delivered by my son, has helped me heal.
This gift that he delivered is really what helps me as I strive to use my time on earth to savour it all.


  1. Pam Fortier

    Beautiful Karen; sad and joyous at the same time. Made me cry, but also made me feel good. I understand better now what I have always sensed in you…Thank you!

    1. Karen Anderson

      Thanks Jackie
      That means a lot to me. 18 seems harder than the rest. It surprising me to feel this again but I’ll keep looking for those healing details.
      I loved it that I found a few angels in your garden last summer.
      Hugs to you my angel friend.

  2. Tandi

    Thank you Karen. The first angel photo took my breath away. I also wanted you to know that your obvious joy in life and appreciation for beauty is a huge comfort and inspiration to me. Happy birthday Ryan.

    1. Karen Anderson

      Thanks Tandi,
      Winged Victory is the name of the sculpture from the Louvre…
      Keep looking for angels and you’ll find them everywhere. I know one that’s flying your way next month…
      love and hugs,

  3. Gina Eaton

    Gosh, can you ever write Karen! Never could I describe such loss with such sweet and delicate musings and heartfelt aching prose such as this. I suppose that is partly because I have not had to endure your pain. I don’t know that I could and stay in one piece. I have walked my own path of pain which is different than yours. The description of those snow cast days took my breath away. I have had the very same feelings on such glorious days but do not yet feel the safe and secure love that you have brought into your life. I, like some crazy woman, still look over my shoulder expecting she might be there – after 18 years! Craziness….
    Thank you for your words, dear Karen. You are SUCH a beautiful soul. I did not know this about you until now. God Bless you, Todd, Ryan and Cole always! Ryan is right there with you.
    “Please don’t cry because I died Mom
    Smile because I lived
    Know that I’m in a happy place
    Know that we will meet again
    I’ll see you there
    Mom, I’ll see you there.”

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